‘Apparent Hypocrisy’: Cuomo Grills Santorum on Evangelical Support for Trump Despite Controversies

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was put on the spot Wednesday morning when asked to defend evangelical voters who support President Donald Trump and disregard what many see as moral failings.

The conservative senator sparred with CNN’s Chris Cuomo over the reaction to the Stormy Daniels controversy, which has left the president largely unscathed within the evangelical community.

Cuomo called the behavior’s “apparent hypocrisy” as he pointed out that many evangelical voters, Santorum included, have praised Trump’s policies while choosing to ignore his moral and ethical issues. He compared the situation to the group’s reaction to the scandals of the Clinton presidency, in which many evangelicals condemned the former president.

“When it suits the politics, the piety is great, and when it doesn’t suit the politics, the piety is easily excused, and that is hypocrisy,” said Cuomo.

But Santorum responded by arguing that no one is perfect, and voters should be ready to forgive the failures of any political leader.

“As a Catholic … we have confession. We go there to confess our sins. We should probably go every day,” Santorum said. “There’s a difference in understanding that people are broken, people fail, people do a lot of bad things. Then the question is but how do they behave on the issues that we have elected them to deal with.”

Cuomo went on to quote Bible passages, arguing that a sinner has to repent in order to be forgiven, something he says Trump has never done.

“With people who say they put faith first, character has to count,” he said. “It always has. We have heard it time and time again. Now all of a sudden, everything is forgivable.”

Santorum didn’t seem impressed by Cuomo’s display of biblical knowledge, however, and shot back that “this is an issue between President Trump and God.”

“Isn’t that convenient?” Cuomo asked. “I just feel if you put a D next to his name instead of an R, there would have been a lot of loud and proud people talking about it.”

The senator explained that while he does find the private actions of Trump “reprehensible,” he believes that “we judge actions, we don’t judge the person,” and argued that the decision between Trump and Hillary Clinton for the presidency was a decision about the lesser of two evils.

Cuomo also talked to Santorum about his recent comments criticizing the student activists from Parkland protesting gun violence, when he said they’d be more helpful if they learned CPR. He walked back those remarks on Wednesday and discussed measures to prevent future shootings.

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